By Irene Best Nyapendi
On June 24th, students from Uganda Christian University (UCU) in the Department of Computing and Technology in collaboration with Google, through the UCU Google Student Developers’ Club, paid a visit to Ntare School in Mbarara to inspire secondary students with their impressive innovations.
The Ntare School Robotics Colloquium saw the participation of at least four secondary schools: Bweranyangyi Girls Secondary School, Mbarara Secondary School, Nyamitanga Secondary School, and Kigezi High School.
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During the colloquium, UCU students showcased several projects aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These projects aimed to address various community issues through innovative solutions.
The exhibition not only allowed the UCU students to demonstrate their practical skills but also provided a valuable learning experience for the Ntare School students.
Students’ Thoughts on the innovation expo
Rachel Mbeiza Isooba, a student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, was thrilled to participate in the exhibition and inspire her fellow students. She shared, “Being able to showcase our projects to the Ntare School students and witness their enthusiasm was incredibly rewarding. I hope it encourages them to explore their own innovative ideas.”
Joseph Miiro Luutu, another UCU student specializing in artificial intelligence and robotics, recognized the impact of such events on students’ growth. He stated, “It was an honour to be part of the exhibition and share my knowledge with the Ntare School students. By introducing them to robotics and technology, we hope to inspire them to pursue their passions and make a difference in their community.”
The Ntare School students were captivated by the innovative projects presented by the UCU students. The practical demonstrations left a lasting impression, igniting their curiosity and motivating them to delve deeper into the world of robotics. With the guidance and support from innovation-driven institutions like UCU, the students are poised to unleash their creativity and drive positive change through technology and innovation.
Martin Kubona, a tutor in the Department of Computing and Technology, explained that their participation in the exhibition was intended to inspire young people to leverage innovation in solving problems within their communities.
He emphasized the significance of exposing their students to different communities across the country, allowing them to gain a broader perspective on various issues. He stated, “At the department, we emphasize project-based learning, allowing our students to put what they learn in class into practice and exhibit their work to the community.”
The event served as an enlightening experience for their students, as they witnessed how other young individuals were tackling problems through innovative projects. “Inspiring the younger generation aligns with our department’s goals. When secondary students observe UCU students exhibiting their projects, they are motivated to explore and see if they can achieve similar or even better outcomes,” said Kubona.
He further highlighted the uniqueness of the exhibition, specifically how secondary students aligned their projects with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He noted that while many people come up with projects, often those projects fail to address any specific problem.
Wilson Ndeze, the Deputy Head Teacher of Ntare School, expressed gratitude to UCU for providing hands-on technical knowledge to his students. He explained that since the government transitioned from a knowledge-based to a competency-based curriculum, the UCU team’s involvement in skilling young innovators held immense significance.
“We are extremely grateful to UCU for sharing practical knowledge with our students and inspiring them to embrace innovation as a means to solve problems within their community,” Ndeze said. He emphasized that these learners reside in societies facing numerous challenges, and exhibitions like these help open their minds to innovative solutions.
Joseph Twinomugisha, a senior three student from Ntare School was inspired and motivated by the UCU team to embark on his own projects. “Today I’ve learnt from the UCU team that if you have an idea, you need to involve other people so that they can advise and finance you to grow your project,” Twinomugisha said.
He adds that he is so grateful to UCU because robotics has been a silent element of endeavour in the study of sciences, at their school. “We appreciate UCU for bringing us samples of their work and helping us get ideas of projects to work on,” Twinomugisha said.